Mod-01 Lec-03 Plato’s idealism: theory of ideas


This lecture is on Plato’s Idealism – Theory
of Ideas in continuation with the previous lecture, where we have discussed the contributions
of the sophist and this is in a sense of an ideal to discuss Plato because in between
we will see the contributions of Socrates as
well who is supposed to be the first martyr of philosophy. This lecture will be trying to address following
issues Plato’s idealism an overview. So,
will try to provide an overview then after that, the influences on Plato those philosophers
and philosophical movements, which are influenced Plato then the relevance of Socrates
in this context has to be underlined, because Plato was the disciple of Socrates and the
most famous disciple of Socrates. Ideas and objects of the sensible word, so
when we discuss Plato’s idealism this distinction
is paramount, the distinction between the ideas
the sensible objects the objection the sensible word. So, this distinction is primary in
Plato’s idealism. So, this has to be discussed and clarified
and then afterwards will see the ideal world because Plato says that, the
ideas on the one time is the monished he says that ideas alone are real. On the other hand, he believed in a plurality
of ideas, he says that ideas constitute a kind of unity there
are pluralities of ideas and there is a hierarchy they formed in the ideal world. So, the ideal world needs to be discussed
to understand this problem. After that the
reality of ideas because according to Plato ideas alone are real and in this context we
have to also mention a very important distinction, a very important dualism which Plato
maintains. Plato says that matter is different from ideas
or forms or essences. Ideas of
forms are the only reality and matter for according to Plato is basically, unreal then
to elucidate and explains these points further
we will discuss a couple of parables the first one on a couple of a knowledge is, the first
one is the famous parable of the cave and the
second one is the analogy of vision. With all these since we are trying to understand
explained Plato’s idealism. Now, about Plato – Plato, some details about
his personal life, his life and he was born in
Athens in a noble family in about 427 and he was educated by Cratylus, who was the
disciple of the famous philosopher Heraclitus who stated that everything in this world is
under constant flux. The famous saying that you cannot step into
the same river twice is attributed to Heraclitus. Earlier Plato was educated by this person
called Cratylus who was himself a disciple of Heraclitus then,
Euclides is another important thinker who was a Plato’s teacher once upon a time, and
who at Plato had studied Parmenides the philosophy of Parmenides under the guidance
of this man who later became a disciple of Socrates along with Plato. Now, let us see there is an very famous quotation
from the history of western philosophy written by Bertrand Russell and this says
that, Plato and Aristotle were the most influential of all philosophers ancient medieval
or modern and of the two it was Plato who had the greater effect upon subsequent
ages. I say this for two reasons – first, that
Aristotle himself is an outcome of Plato, second that Christian theology and philosophy
at any rate until the 13 century was much more Platonic than Aristotelian. So, this
underlines the importance of Plato as a philosopher in the whole history of western
philosophy. So, according too many other historians of
philosophy Plato is supposed to be the most important philosopher in the whole
of western philosophy. Now, there are certain very preliminary problems
which we come across, which we encounter when we try to understand Plato’s
idealism. So, some of them are the problem of universals,
what do you mean by a universal? See
for example, you have a pen or a computer in front of you. Let us take the example of a
pen there are 1000 of pens in this world, but there is only one idea of pen, the general
idea of pen, what do you mean by a pen? All of us know there are different types,
different colors, different makes, but there is something called a pen, what it is? So, that
is a universal pen. So, he us can send about the universal and
his theory of ideas slightly deals with the universals and in connection
with this problem we come across another issue what is a common element in the many
particular objects that bear the same name. All these objects we call pen, what is that
common element by means of which by virtue of which all of them are understood as pen
that is question here. So, the common element with general features
then again, what is the relationship between particular and universal. So, there is a universal penness or an essence
of pen in what we the ordinary pens which we used to
write are related or connected with this universal pen. Can we say that there is no universal apart
from this particulars many philosophers hold that view, that is are very
significant that is a very important view, but
flied I would assert that it is a universal, it is a essence which is more important than
the particular objects in this universe. Next the question is what happens to the universals
when particulars perish, what happens? Whether any things happen to the idea of pen
if 1 or 2 pens in this universe parish that is the question. So, these are some of the preliminary issues
which Plato is concerned as far as this theory of ideas is
concerned. And now let us look into some of the subsidiary
issues the first one is, the question of method. What should be the method of enquiry? This question, an answer to this
question will consider in the next lecture, but this is a very important thing like the
question is, what should be the method of enquiry, when it comes to as all of us know
natural sciences employ a very peculiar method of enquiry. Natural science is will
employ the method of observation the method of experimentation. So, it observes the
world what happens to the world and observation relies on sense organs. And for Plato,
christen of method pre supposes something else then the observation method because,
he has the philosopher who has proclaimed from
the very outset is disbelief in the sensible world. He says that, the sensible word is only a
copy we will see that subsequently. Can man
ever know reality? That is another very important philosophical
problem. Philosophers
talk about reality a lot, there is a reality but can man ever know it, if man is unable
to it then why do you bother about it. But if man can know it then you have to tell
how man can know it the methodology has to be devised. So, these are some of the questions. Again, what are the different aspects of human
reality? Human reality can be there is a
spiritual aspect of it, there is an intellectual aspect, there is a sensible aspect there are several faces of human reality what are they? So, these are some of the issues which in
general Plato is concerned about or rather we are concerned about when we discussed
Plato. Now, let us see the thinkers who have influenced
Plato. The first and famous one is
Pythagoras, who is a famously associated with the Pythagorean Theorem and who is a
mathematician, who is a religious person, who has a very peculiar religion of his own. But Plato was in influenced by Pythagoras
mostly with respect to the mathematical theories ES tabula or the respect for mathematics. Belief in immortality and in other
worldliness and the mysticism, mathematics is important because Plato also thought that
mathematics is a very important discipline because mathematics involves abstract
thinking and for Plato a philosopher, a thinker, is a person who has the capability of
abstract thinking. And if you are not able to think in terms
of extract objects you are not qualified to be a philosopher. So, Pythagoras is important because mathematic,
he was a mathematic, he was primarily a mathematician
and Plato has famously wrote it is said that in front of his academy, Plato’s the
school which Plato established, it was written that no man ignorant of mathematic should
enter, because he considered mathematics as so important in learning process of a philosopher. The second very important influence is from
Parmenides, we have already discussed a little bit of Parmenides in one of the early
lectures. Parmenides is the philosopher (Refer Time: 10:25) philosopher pre-Socratic thinker
who believed in the permanence of reality. He says that, reality must be imperishable,
eternal and something which is permanent immovable, in order to move something has
to be located in space and time, and if objectives conditioned by space and time it
cannot be real in the philosophical sense of
the term. So, this belief in an eternal and timeless
reality the unreality of change Plato moves to
Parmenides a lot and interestingly the next important influence on Plato is from
Heraclitus. We have already discussed Heraclitus just
a few seconds ago; Heraclitus was a philosopher who says that there is nothing
permanent in the sensible world, hence do not believe in senses. So, Plato derive this incite from Heraclitus,
do not believe in the senses, though Heraclitus in sense never proclaimed
so. And now comes the most
important, the most significant contribution, the most significant influence on Plato’s
in intellectual life by none other than Socrates
– the great philosopher who was Plato’s teacher and a Plato was indebted to Socrates
for making the ethical problem as the central concern of his philosophy. We can see that even in Plato, in Plato’s
utopia the state republic, the major issue, the most
important question is; what is the justice, which
is an ethical question and when it comes his metaphysics which we are going to discuss
in this lecture. The idea of good is at the center it is according
to Plato the some important the most important essence, the
most important idea and every other ideas are
under that. So, in once sense we can say that, there is
only one idea that is the idea of good, everything is a derivative of this idea. This is the very important influence from
Socrates then again the teleological rather than mechanical
explanations of the world which feel find even in Aristotle’s philosophy as well
and also most importantly the method of dialectics I have mentioned the importance
of a method. The method to know truth and it
just to this method Plato was indebted to Socrates the method of dialectics. Now, a little bit of Socrates we have to mention. Socrates was person who has literally
taken philosophy to the marketplace and what I mean by marketplace is taking
philosophy to the common man, taking philosophy to the places where people from all
ways of life come assemble to do their daily business. So, you will find Socrates in the
market place, you will find him in marriage ceremony where he discussed in philosophy
with his friends and allies. Practical task of philosophy is according
to Socrates to help man to think right, in order
that they may live right. So, again you can see emphasize on the ethical
issues what is more important is to live the right kind of
life and in order to live the like kind of life you
have to think in the right manner. Here again, practical task of philosophy is
to help people to do that and to know what is good,
so that one becomes good. And again further
questions of knowledge truth and goodness are intimately connected, you cannot
separate this issue, philosopher is concerned about all these problems. About the
question of knowledge, truth, goodness, and in that sense logics, ethics and esthetic
are all interconnected. Now the question of truth this is little more
prominent, because philosophy is primarily concerned with the question of truth. And here the question of truth is a domain
of absolute clarity, absolute certainty and absolute
universality this is basically, Socrates approach. He always believe that the domain of truth
is absolutely be clear, one should be able to understand if it all understands
it, it should be understood with absolute clarity
and certainty and this truth should be universal. And it should be distinguish from
confused and vague opinions and thoughts we have, we have lot of vague ideas about
this world what is happening in this world, but truth as far as truth is concerned it
cannot be vague at all it should be absolutely certain
and despite diverse opinions there is a common ground or principle people might think
differently, people might have different believes and opinions, but there is only one
truth and that can be attained, that can be achieved with the help of a method employed
which is the dialectical method. Ideas and opinions are expressed in propositions
and judgments, truth can be expressed in the universal judgment which is beyond
all doubts and contradictions. It is to arrive at
these kind of judgments which, Socrates thought is primary of objective of philosophy
and in all his , all his , all his conversations with
the other philosophers and other thinkers and other people, we can see that the approach
is to get a direct access to truth. Now let us talk about a little bit about Socratic
Method we will take it up in the subsequent lectures. He pretends, I mean this is the famous dialectical,
the method of dialectics which we will explain in the next
lecture, but primarily what happens is that he
pretends not to know any more about the topic of this discussion. So, he gets into conversation with the other
people by raising questions and he pretends that he does not know anything about it, and
he often acts as though he knew less than his opponents. Then he asks questions insists for clear definitions
and explanations and in this way the process of dialogue proceeds,
makes them contradict and this is what happens. In this process he makes his opponents or
his partner in conversion to contradict himself and this contradiction
will eventually and ultimate expose the confusions, his opponents have in their minds
and soon his opponents feel that Socrates is the master of the situation. This is what happens in the method of dialectic. Now, we will try to see will straight away
come to Plato will see the influence of Socrates further when we discuss certain other
issues in Plato’s philosophy, now will come to central principle the theory of ideas
or theory of forms it is called. What are
they? What are these forms? What are these plethoric ideas which we are
talking about? So, here we will see an interesting observation
from famous very famous (Refer Time: 17:37) philosopher Gilbert Ryle. He says, Gilbert Ryle says that it originated
out of several different and partly independently
features of the general ideas or notions, that
constituted the recurrent themes of dialectical disputations that include definitions,
standards of measurement and appraisal immutable things, timeless truths, one over
many intellectual knowledge, conceptual certainties and ontology of forms. So, in a sense ideas that derived from all
these things, there is I have already mentioned a
very straight forward approach to generalized to see the generalizations and when you
take theory of ideas there is a famous observation by Bertrand Russell. Russell says that, the theory of ideas is
partly logical and partly metaphysical. What do
you mean by logical? Logical here according to Russell, it has
to do with the meaning of general words like manness, catyness, penness,
bookness whatever, wherever you have general terms. What do you mean by that? What do you mean by catyness, you know
what a cat is, but what do you mean by catyness? Again when it comes to the
metaphysical aspect what in reality corresponds to the general world. Here ontology of
essences is being envisaged. So, when I say cat I know that what a cat
is, when I say pen I know what a pen is, but when I say penness or catyness to what this
word correspond, that is a question. What is
that corresponding objects? So, this corresponding objects cannot be a
particular object because particular objects are when I talk
about a pen which is there in my pocket, I am
talking about a particular pen, but when I talk about penness it is not there in my pocket
it is not there in this world, it is somewhere in my mind I can say it to some extent. So, but what sort of an entity it is? If it is there in the mind what is its status,
is it just an image, shadow. So, these are questions which try to deals
with and Plato would say that they are absolute realities, will see that. This is a quote again from Russell a history
of western philosophy it says that, a logical part has to do with the meaning of general
words. There are many individual names of
whom we can truly say this is a cat what do you mean by a word cat; obviously,
something different from each particular cat. An animal is a cat it would seem because it
participates in a general nature common to all cats. So, this is a center, this is a crux of it. An animal is a cat, it would seem, because
it participates in a general nature common to
all cats. So, this all concept of participation is
very important. Again I start reading, something which is
not this or that cat, but some kind of universal catyness this is not born
when a particular cat is born and does not die
when it dies. In fact, it is no position in space or time
it is eternal this is a logical part of the doctrine. And now when we come to the metaphysical part
of the doctrine, it says again from Russell; the word “cat” means a certain
ideal cat, “the cat,” created by god and unique. Particular cats partake of the nature of the
cat, but more or less imperfectly; it is only owing to this imperfection that there can
be many of them. The cat is real; particular cats
are only apparent. So, here you can see the problem of one and
many appear in reality; what appear the many cats, what appears is
a reality which is reality of particularities, but
what is real? Reality is always something which is unique
there is only one categories and again when you talk about ideas and idealism. Ideas are objects of the intellect
known by reason alone Plato as a categorically a forms that they are objects; they are
objects not of course of this world, but of the intellect known by reason alone. They
cannot be known to observation, through sense experience, they can be known only
through reason, there comes the relevance of mathematics. Mathematics is another
discipline where we employ reason not observation. And again they are objective realities that
exist in a world of their own. They are not just
their in the human mind, but they have a world of they are own; the objective realities. There are as many ideas as there are common
names and every common name designates an idea. So, wherever you find a common name camera
or a telephone, computer all these are common names. So, corresponding to all these there are ideas. But now we have problem, in what sense these
ideas are related to particular objects, in what sense the idea of cat is related to cats
in this world. The idea of computer is related
to different types of computers in this world. So, here Socrates, Parmenides and
Heraclitus are all men; what is common to all of them is the man-type, the essence or
idea of man. Beautiful flower, beautiful poem, beautiful
painting and in all these cases what is common: beauty, the idea of beauty. Then again a moving car, a moving man, a
moving cycle; motion is the idea, so common to all these things. Now, when we talk about the knowledge about
these ideas we see beautiful things, we can say that it is a beautiful flower, a beautiful
mountain, a beautiful house; all these are beautiful things and lot of beautiful flowers
around me. But what about beautiful as such,
where is beauty, the essence of beauty. So, Plato’s philosopher is a person of wisdom
who is not bothered about particular beautiful objects in this world, but we is concerned
about beauty as such the essence of beauty. We see moving bodies, not the idea of
movement where do the generalizations exist? Do they exist only in the human minds;
these are some of the questions. And when it comes to general ideas, they can
be approached only through reason I have already mentioned this. This cannot be a subject matter of observation
that can be understood only by the employment of the intellect
by reason. Reason has to be properly
trained to see the ideas which are real. Every one of us all human beings are rational. In
fact, one of the defining features of humanness is rationality, possesses of rationality,
if that is the case then why is it that everyone
is not a philosopher. According to Plato
through reason with the employment of reason you can graduate, you can understand the
essences the world of essences and thus you can became a philosopher. But everyone is
not able to do that, why the reason for that is that reason has to be properly trained
to see the ideas which are real. And when you contrast this world of ideas
with the world of senses, we can see that the
world of senses are constantly fleeting and reality needs to be searched not in the world
of senses because the world of senses is the world of change, it is a world of distraction. It is the world which is never the same the
next movement, it keeps on change, so in a world of complete change nothing is real,
reality is changeless and eternal. So, one has to
search for the eternally changeless reality, it needs to be searched in the intelligible
world in the intellect. And here we can see we will just contrast
the sense object and general ideas. The
common sense view is that; they are mental copies of the sensible objects. As well as
general ideas are concerned, the commonsensically we understand general ideas of
copies of sensible objects, we seen different objects. We see a computer for example;
computer is a relatively new invention. So, this has not existed from
memorial. So, it is a new invention and now all of us
have an image of computer in our mind, so we can logically conclude that, the
image of computer is being derived from the computer which came into exist only recently,
but Plato would disagree with that. They
depend on the objects this is the commonsensical view. They are not real, but exist only
in the individual mind and they cannot be communicated completely because since it
exist only in my mind the ideas in my mind cannot be communicated to you to another
person a complete sense of the term. Because to some extend it is my, and Plato’s
idealism presence an entirely different view says that, ideas are the models or the originals. They are not copies of sensible objects,
but they are the most original models of reality and the individual objects are the copies
it is other way around, for commonsensical view the objects the ideas are copies of
objects, but here for Plato individual objects are copies. And both are thoughts and the
eternal objects of these thoughts are part of the ideas and thoughts of god, which know
no-human intelligence, can wholly reproduce. So, these are the differences, main different
ways in which Plato understands the ideas from the commonsensical perspective. So, the most important point is that for Plato
their absolute realities and the world of objects
are copies of these absolute realities. Now, when it comes to the question of the
sensible and the real, the real according to
Plato and according to the general philosophical assumption, it must be more enduring
and unchanging it cannot be something which changes quite frequently it has to be more
enduring and unchanging. And again it must be eternal; something which
perishes cannot be treated as real or in other words, the
reality of perishable objects as a minimal reality. They do have only a relative reality not absolute
reality, individual objects and instances may come and go like individual human beings
Plato, Aristotle all these people have come and they have gone all of us will go
one day, but manness exist. They are not real,
what the individual objects are not real. The individual pens and cats and mountains
and human beings and whatever things in this world
they are not real because they come and go they perished they are subjective to change. The idea is what the individual expresses,
but this is what from here he is trying to bring
out one important aspect, one important thing about the relationship between the objects
and the ideas. The idea is what the individual expresses. So, when you have a computer
in front of you, individual computer are in or a particular computer or a particular pen
these objects express the ideas. For instance, the pen the particular pen expresses
the universal idea of penness and the particular
computer expresses the universal idea of computer, without the idea it expresses the
individual cannot exist. So, Plato puts the relationships the other
way round the individual owes it is existence to
the universal idea. It is the universal, it is by virtue of its
participating in the universal and individual acquires it is name and status. We call an object a pen because it partakes
because it participates in the universal idea of penness. We call him man, we call
objective a man or entity a man because, that entity that object partakes and participates
in the idea of universal manness. The idea is absolute and an unlimited, sensible
object has something of what the idea is. Sensible object I repeat, sensible object
has something of what the idea is. So, this is that partaking relationship that
participation and sensible object partakes of the idea, idea is undivided
being, it cannot be divided, it is simple in
that sense. In contrast the objects of the phenomenal
world everything is subject to change and destruction fleeting and uncertain I have
already mentioned it, nothing is permanent in
this world. One cannot step into the same river twice
because both the river as well as the person who is stepping down in the river will change. So, everything is a fleeting reality no
absolute reality, so the question of absolutely reality never comes into picture at all as
far as the object of phenomenal world is concerned. We have small and big it is a big mountain a small mountain, but all these are
relative terms, a big a tall man is tall in relation with a short man a man who shorter
than him, but another taller man in front a
taller man this tall man becomes short. So, all these expressions small, big, beautiful,
ugly good and bad something which is good today might be a bad tomorrow, something
which is beautiful today might be treated as ugly tomorrow. So, there has the world of objects the world
of sensible objects are that is subjective to constant change
and they are relative they cannot be absolute. Now when it comes to I mean, I am taking another
more conflict example here the example of beautiful object because this is
one reason is that, Plato is also pre-occupied with the question of beauty there are very
repeatedly very frequently takes up this example of beautiful objects. So, there are beautiful objects in this world
and idea of beauty. So, about beautiful objects this is from a
Weber’s book which is referred in the end of
this lecture. As Weber says, they are fair today fall tomorrow,
fair at one place or in one relation or in point of view or to one person
fall under different circumstances and in the
judgment of other persons. Hence, everything in the world of phenomenal
beauty is relative fleeting and uncertain. It reminds me a Shakespeare’s famous statement,
“fair is foul and foul is fair in his Macbeth everything
fair is foul and foul is fair”. So, the world
is completely uncertain this world of uncertainty is we are leaving, but when you enter the domain of ideal beauty, it is ever lasting
without beginning and without end; without diminution and without decay; invariable,
immutable and absolute; it is beautiful in all
its relations and from all points of view; it is beautiful at all times and it all places
and for all persons; it is pure and pure and unalloyed,
and therefore transcends the power of imagination. So, you can see the contrast the oneness is
a domain of unrealities, relative entities the
other one is, everlasting absolute entities. Now proper ideas, what do you mean by ideas? As Plato says, ideas are real beings; they
are the only real beings and they are more; they
are definitely more real than the objects of senses; they only true realities, they
are the only true realities and they alone are real. They are the eternal patterns after which
the things of sense are made and on the other
hand the phenomenal world is constitute that of objects which have only a borrowed existence,
they are mere copies of their world of ideas they receive their reality from the
ideas I have already mentioned all these things. Only a symbol, an allegory or a figure of
speech they exist not in themselves, but as reflections of their ideas they do not have
independent existence at all, they are mere copies, they are shadows, they have no reality
other than that which they receive from these ideas. And when you talk about the ideal world, this
is a very important point to be understood, what is this real world Plato is talking about,
what is it constitute. I have already
mentioned that, it is constituted as ideas and there are as many ideas are as there are
general terms in this world. So, we keep on inventing or rather invention
is not the right world we keep on discovering new ideas with
the discovery of new objects computer were not there earlier, but with the discovery
of computer we are actually also discovering the idea of computer which eternally
exist and Plato says that, the domain the world of ideas, the world of abstract
essences or forms of ideas constitute a hierarchical arrangement, they form an a hierarchy. So, what sort of a hierarchy? As in the sensible world where there is a
gradation of beings from the most imperfect to the more
and more perfect, the ideal world too has a
gradation. So, here come some Plato encounter some difficulties
here, because it recognizes the plurality of ideas there are
a number of ideas plurality of ideas, how do
they relate themselves with each other. So, he says that there is a hierarchy and
once you say that they are relational one idea related
to another, both of them become relative then they cannot be absolute in the philosophical
sense of the term. So, and also once you say that there is I
mean they are hierarchical, there is an idea which is more real than other ideas or there
is a gradation the more real on the top and then you come across lesser realities lesser
real ideas. So, in that case it seems that the ideas are losing their individuality; they
are not individual ideas there. So, once you
accept that they lose their individuality then, how can you claim, how can you assert
their absolute status this is the question. The ideas are joined together by means of
other ideas of higher order this is what Plato says, these are embraced under others still
more exalted ideas and ideas constantly increase in generality and force until we
reach the top. So, there is a supreme idea there
is an idea someone , the objective of all ideas the goal of all ideas in
the sense we can say, the top the last the highest the most powerful ideas which
according to Plato is the idea of good. So, somewhere you can see that Plato takes
us to the question to the ethical question and answer
to the ethical question which you raised in the begging of his philosophy. So, that ethical question is what is that
ultimate objective of life? What is that ultimate
objective of philosophical thinking? Philosophical thinking aims a truth, what
is that truth and here Plato says that truth and knowledge
are identical with good. So, truth
consists or knowledge consists in knowing the goodness the idea of good, which is the
last idea, what is that idea of good, the only real absolute idea that is only real
absolute idea. It comprehends contains or summarizes the
entire system of ideas, entire system of reality just as the visible universe it is
copy comprehends, contains or summarizes all say, creatures in this world. Ideas of a lower order exist by themselves
and as substances only as compared to their visible copies. So, you can compare the absolute status of
other ideas say for example, the idea of pen the absolute status of this the idea of motion,
the idea of beauty any of these ideas you take they have a kind of substantial existence
only when you compare them with the objects which are their copies. But the higher I mean, when you compare them
with the highest ideas the idea of good they cease
to have substantial existence, they cease to have
substances, they are modes of the idea of good. And here again to substantiate this view the
hierarchy the hierarchical orderly of ideas Plato says that,
the ideas or the ideas in the ideal world exhibit a unity, there is a universe of ideas
ordered hierarchically, a unity and connection of ideas at the expense of the individuality
of ideas, this is what I have mentioned. It is
always done the unity established always at the expense of the individuality of these
individual ideas, they form of a unity or an organism this is for Plato says. So, they live a common life these ideas of
a common life and it is not possible to separate them from each other as they are independent
of time and space which are principles of separation. So, this is again very interesting to separate
one thing from another you need space and time, separations happens at a time
and two places, but ideas are independent of space and time. So, no separation can be envisaged as per
as ideas are concerned now the important question is the abode of ideas
where do they exist. They do not exist in the physical world they
do exist in the mind, but not in the individual mind as a subjective idea. They, the heavens are their abode this is
what Plato says heaven of course, is a symbolic term
here and he says that they are housed in an ideal and intelligible place. So, you need an ideal and intelligible what
is it? It is the abode of intellect the human
mind of course, but not the subjective domain of human mind, but the domain which
houses the universal rational intellectual aspects the home of ideas is the idea as such,
it is not it cannot housed somewhere else because,
it is self subsistent. So, the home of idea
must be idea as such the idea has no place outside of itself it exist by virtue of itself,
it exists in the intelligence and it can be known
through the intelligence alone. Again the absolute idea of good and all other
ideas exist in the mind which is the abode of the intelligence and they form the very
essence of the mind. So, what is the human
mind after all Plato would says that, the essence of human mind is constituted of these
ideas, they are latent in the mind we are not conscious of them probably we are not
conscious of them but they are there. And when you try to understand the relationship
between ideas and sensations Plato would say that, ideas are not known through
sensations you cannot know them to sensations. The senses can access only the external copies
of ideas, only the images, only the shadows can be captured by the senses,
but the original exist in us, he says. It is there
in the intelligence, it is already there in the human mind only thing is you have to
discover it or rediscover it. Sensation in an only provokes ideas and does
not produce them, when you see individual pen, it can
only provoke the idea, but it cannot perceive the idea. What it perceives the individual pen, but
it provokes the universal idea. Senses
are deceptive, this is the very basic principle in Platonic approach to philosophy the
highly a suspicious about the abilities of senses to depart knowledge they drag the mind
into the world of particularities. So, this is something which we will examine
when we discuss the cave analogy of Plato because the beautiful analogy brings out,
how Plato’s idealism, the theory of Plato’s idealism with the help of certain analogies
parables and all that. Truth can be accessed
only through reasoning; this is the ultimate confusion of Plato’s idealism can only being
involved through reasoning and, whatever you talk about the material world it is
essentially non-being. So, Plato calls that matrices essentially
a non-entity, the idea becomes a creator this cause a will in reference to non-being and
thus non-being becomes like being and takes part in the absolute existence of the idea. The non-being thus becomes the first matter
out of which the forms after it is own image the
most perfect divine and finished visible world possible. Now there are two things to be discussed which
will reserve for the lecture. The most
important thing is the parable of the cave and also the analogy of vision which we were
planning to discuss in this lecture, which will reserve to the next lecture. And what is
interesting is that, this conception about the previous slide we have discussed ideas
and sensations where Plato denies the value of
sensation and the important of ideas. As per as ides concerned, they can be known
only through reason and here Plato envisages a method, the method
is called as I already mentioned the method of
dialectic. Which is derives it, develops it, derives
the basic insides of this method to develop this method from the approaches of
Socrates, but later on he develops a lot on this and develops a very consistent philosophical
method very influential philosophical method which depends a lot on dialogue conversation
which consider other people as important. So, all these things we will reserve for the
next lecture, now we have discuss in this lecture we have summarized, we have given
a very basic understanding of what theory of
ideas are. The points to be remembered as number one,
ideas are absolutely realities they are not images. Number two, the world of objects the world
of particular objects or this particular objects are all copies of the ideal
objects, they are imitations of the ideal objects, they are imperfect imitations of
the ideal objects because all copies and all imitations are bound to be imperfect. Number three, you can never know ideas through
sensations or sense observations you can know ideas, only with the employment of
reasoning only with the employment of intelligence. Number four, the world of senses
have to be suspected which is contained in point number three. So, these are some of the points to be noted,
but the most important one is, the ideas themselves constitute a unity, they themselves
constitute a universe where the ideas are hierarchically arranged hierarchically organized. On top of all these ideas you will find
the idea of good which is the to which all other ideas are subjected
to. So, in once sense Platonic idealism or Plato’s
theory of ideas announces the importance of goodness in human life and he
says that goodness is the (Refer Time: 47:51) the most important idea and all other
ideas are substitute under that. So, in one
sense Plato’s theory of ideas, is a theory of idea of goodness. Thank you.

Maurice Vega

17 Responses

  1. good to see western philosophy course as well…many videos are highly useful for Philosophy optional and MA entrance exams…thanks a lot!

  2. wow..this was beautiful (and this makes me think how beautiful would be very idea of beauty,once known by the method of dialectic,acc. to the great plato) thanks sir

  3. shouldn't it be like…invention of computer points to discovery of computerness in the world of ideas…..anyone plz solve my query

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